[permaculture] [Fwd: Re: Trichogramma] Offtopic but interesting from a biocontrol perspective

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Sun Jan 12 16:49:30 EST 2003

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Trichogramma
Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2003 17:53:32 +0800
From: Roberto Verzola <rverzola at GN.APC.ORG>

If you search the website of the Philippine Department of
Agriculture (www.da.gov.ph), you will find some pages on their
annual best corn farmer awardees. Many of them use the wasp
trichogramma for corn borer control.

The use of Bt corn to control the corn borer is a cure that is worse
than the disease.

Instead of spraying poison, the Bt corn approach puts the poison
inside every cell of the corn plant, where it can neither be degraded
or washed away. The poison will still be there when you eat the
corn. No research has been done about the long-term effect of
ingesting this poison regularly into our bodies.

Once you plant Bt corn, its pollen can easily pollinate nearby fields.
Since many Filipino farmers save their corn seeds for the next
planting season, and our corn fields are very close to each other,
the contaminated seeds can easily spread the Bt gene to more
neighbors. The widespread contamination that will eventually ensue
will probably be irreversible. It will be worse than the Golden Snail
problem. At least you can visually identify the Golden Snail. You'll
need expensive DNA testing to identify Bt corn varieties.

And once the Monsanto-patented Bt corn pollinates natural corn,
our farmers can be sued by Monsanto for unauthorized use of the
Bt gene. Monsanto has sued farmers in U.S. and Canada for
similar reasons and won, with the farmers fined $20,000-$50,000.

Once the Philippine government adopts mandatory GMO labelling,
farmers will find it very difficult to sell their Bt-contaminated corn,
because consumers avoid GMOs.

At least, U.S. farmers can run to their government for subsidies.
Filipino farmers can't expect any help from our bankrupt

I would suggest you tell all corn farmers you work with not only to
stay away from Bt corn, but to warn neighbors not to plant it
because they will contaminate other corn fields.

Here are some ways of controlling the corn borer:

1. avoid planting in months when corn borer infestation is highest
(ask other farmers in your area which months)
2. detassel the corn plants, except for 1 for every 3-4 plants. This
tends to minimize infestation
3. use trichogramma, which helps control the corn borer
4. use corn varieties which are tolerant to the corn borer. You would
have to ask the extension workers in your area about this.
5. use Dipel or Thuricide (which actually contain Bt bacteria that will
kill the corn borer). At least, this sprayed biopesticide can be
washed off before you eat the corn.


Roberto Verzola

On 11 Jan 2003 at 12:22, odin wrote:

 > Hi SANETers,
 > I'm currently researching the viability and feasibility of Trichogramma Cards against Asian Corn
 > Borer.
 > I would appreciate any help in this field. Thank you.
 > P.S. What do you think: Can this technology compete with Bt Corn of Monsanto and Cargill now
 > OK in the Philippines?

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